Friday, May 01, 2009

wisdom's call

I was nearly reveling in a meditation of a passage in Proverbs yesterday, while at work. Wisdom is depicted as a woman standing in a prominent place where important life decisions are made, calling out to all humankind.

The whole passage rather struck me, but especially the rendering which the TNIV chose from the Septuagint: "set your hearts on it," that is on prudence, or wisdom.

While wisdom is indeed a gift from God, it is something that requires effort on our part. We are prone to wander and our hearts apart from grace are not set on what is right, but actually on what is wrong. And often the wrong deceptively seems right to us, though we come to learn that something is indeed wrong. And if we persist in that way we will see the results of it in our lives. So we can't help ourselves, but need help from God, and God's help is a help that won't leave us helpless.

Wisdom requires not just a one time decision, but continued appropriation in being careful to stay on the path, because if we don't, we'll sooner than later wander off. We want to end well, not just begin well. And to end well, we're going to have to learn to walk well through life, and all the vicissitudes (or, changes; I might say disruptions) and challenges life brings.

It needs to start wherever we are now, through Jesus. God will help us. But we also need to walk by faith in it, however halting and stumbling our steps may be. To keep getting up and moving in the way of wisdom, depending on God all along the way. A way that sets us on a path with others in Jesus, not just for ourselves, but to help each other, and others join us in the way in Jesus.

What would you like to add to these thoughts here?


L.L. Barkat said...

I've always liked the way Woman Wisdom in Proverbs is a kind of Christ figure. There from before the world began, celebrating God's works.

Yes, to be like her...

Anonymous said...

somtimes i feel i am wondering around in a circle...but, maybe it is actually a spiral. what ever God's path is for me, i hope He continues to guide me.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Commentaries of Proverbs as I recall seem to downplay that, but one can't help but see the analogy when one turns to Colossians as well as 1 Corinthians.

I see Wisdom as continuing to call out to us along life's journey. Hopefully we're on the way of wisdom, but we can easily get sidetracked from it.

Thanks. Always good to hear from you, and I look forward to your next book! I also look forward to blogging on it, and hopefully in a more effective way this time I'm guessing, in getting others tuned into it. Though I know my audience is limited in number.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I like your spiral thought. Reminds me of your gift of creativity. But I know what you mean at times. At least you have a sense of being on the path and of God guiding you. And of that sense of the need of further grace for that. That's what's important, surely.

Every Square Inch said...

The difference between the Christian faith and some other religions and beliefs is in the Christian worldview, wisdom is not typically a "secret" to be unraveled by us mere mortals.

Rather wisdom is from God, a gift dispensed by grace.

Ted M. Gossard said...


Yes. I didn't emphasize the grace and gift part of it. I was emphasizing setting our hearts on it.

Wisdom in the faith goes beyond the wisdom God gives to all in common grace, of course. All in creation is a gift, but what is received as a gift in the new creation through the fear of the Lord and faith in Jesus is grace that moves us into lasting, enduring wisdom, one might say new creation wisdom which begins now and to go on forever.

nannykim said...

I think that is why it is so important to feed our hearts and minds with truth. I think wisdom tends to be like spiritual growth--we never stand still. We are either growing or falling backwards.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I agree with you. There is no standing still. And so we need to be those who are pursuing wisdom's call in Jesus.